Monday, July 29, 2013

Man Cave in Your Next Home? Features to Make it Awesome!

So it’s time to move and your husband is insisting the neon bar light he acquired in college shouldn’t go into the trash. He is certain it will be the perfect addition to the downstairs family room—along half a dozen framed jerseys from various sports teams. And then there is that unique pseudo Adirondack chair made every hockey stick he has ever owned. You’re just not crazy about a purple, green or red wall in any part of your new home even if they are his favorite team colors. Before there's an all out battle, maybe it’s time to consider a man-cave a priority on the new home list. 

A man cave, or male sanctuary, is a place to stash all that guy stuff that just doesn’t fit the décor of the rest of the home. It is where a guy can be a guy and keep his treasures. A hangout if you will. So before you risk your relationship and hide all of his precious, yet somewhat hideous treasures in the box designated for the Salvation Army, consider finding a home with man cave potential.

Top Features in a Man Cave

  1. Soundproof—A great man sanctuary will allow guys to be loud without bothering the rest of the family.
  2. Abundant, Comfortable Seating—Relaxing in front of a game, movie or Xbox will need to be done in comfort.
  3. Big Screen—The bigger the better in most cases, whether watching sports or gaming.
  4. Bar area—Either a wet or dry, a place to store refreshments is a necessity.
  5. Workshop—Most men treasure their tools making a cool workbench a great asset
  6. Private entrance—Again, the less the rest of the family is disturbed, the better.
  7. Workout Area—Whether a treadmill, boxing bag or mega weight bench, this manly equipment is best suited for the cave! 
And if the lady of the home also has some unique treasures that need their own space, whether it be an over-sized walk-in closet for the shoes or a special hobby room for scrap booking,  maybe a woman-cave is should be on the house requirement list too.

Copyright 2014

Monday, July 22, 2013

Couch Ouch—Resist the Urge to Splurge!

Buying a first home is an exciting time. There are so many things that have to be arranged and purchased besides the home like home owners insurance, utilities, cable, internet, moving truck rentals and furniture. There is one common theme in all of these arrangements, money. Everything is going to cost something and quite possibly, require a look at your credit.

But this should be no big deal, right? You found the home, wrote the offer, it has been excepted  and were pre-approved for the purchase, so now you are good to go. You don’t have to worry about that silly credit score or credit ratio the loan officer had you so uptight about anymore, right? WRONG!

Many first time home buyers forget that as a stipulation for the loan, a credit report can be pulled right up to closing to make sure there are no new debts. This means,don’t open any new lines of credit or you could find yourself without a home.

Recently, a young client of mine had to sweat out the last few days before closing due to the purchase of a couch. He was excited about his first home and really didn’t have a couch to sit on….and there was a HUGE sale at a local furniture store. 

Had he used the credit card he already had in his wallet, there wouldn’t have been an issue. But the salesperson at the furniture store encouraged him to "get a better deal" with a new store card. But furniture salespeople do not know whether or not this great little card will affect your credit score...they just get a bonus every time someone signs up. That "deal" came with a new line of credit that could have cost my buyer the house. Fortunately, he didn’t have Cadillac tastes and his furniture purchase and the accompanying line of credit was somewhat reasonable. 

But the story didn't end there. Upon realizing his mistake of opening a card before his home closing,  my buyer tried to “fix” the situation by transferring the charge from the new furniture card to his existing credit card account. This actually makes things worse. FICO scores can be affected negatively when a credit card is used to pay off another card.

About a week before closing, I received a text from my client about this little “couch ouch”. He was completing the paperwork for final approval and there was “the” question, “Have you opened any new lines of credit?” He wanted to know how to answer it and told me about the new couch (and credit card that it came with). Now, he was wondering if he should borrow money from his parents to pay off the card or return the couch. What was going to fix the situation and still allow him to purchase the home?

Okay, I’m not a loan officer but Ido know there has to be a paper trail for any funds coming into accounts right before a closing too. They will pull the bank statement and every big deposit will need to be explained. Plus it will not negate the new line of credit. I told him, “Call your loan officer asap!”

The good news for my client was his mistake was small price-wise and didn’t prevent his home purchase. Had he obtained credit for new appliances, hardwood floors or a car, there might have been a different outcome. However, the situation did cause him some needless worry a few days before the closing. Sharing the story is a good lesson for others. Remember per-approval isn’t the same as final approval on a loan. Your credit and income will remain under the scrutiny of the underwriter until closing.

My mother always told me, there  is always another sale. So be patient and resist the urge to splurge on a new couch, carpeting or appliances before you sign the final papers on the purchase of your home.


  • Don’t take out new lines of credit. If they ask for your social security number it will most likely cause a tick on your report.
  • Be prepared to explain any large influx of cash into your bank account, if you receive a gift or unexpected payment of any kind.
  • Don’t quit your job or reduce your hours. Your income will be verified right before the closing.
  • When in doubt, call your loan officer. They would rather answer a call now than give you news later than you no longer qualify for the loan.
  • There will ALWAYS be another sale. Try to shop after your closing not before! 

Copyright 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Speechless Sunday (Almost)~Pretty Kitty Wearing Chanel!

The kitty may be wearing Chanel, but her cat box tells another story! It's hard to sell a home with pets. I have buyer clients who swear they can tell if a cat is in the home from the moment the front door swings open. And most of these clients don't have a fur allergy, they smell the cat box. Sweaty, wet dogs smells can especially noxious in the summer. Any pet odor or stains can kill a sale. 

So what do you do if your home is on the market and you have a pet?

  • Keep your pet well groomed to reduce odor, hair and nail damage.
  • Get a pet bed for your dogs and cats. Not only does it provide extra comfort and it keeps dirt and sweat their bodies and fur from going into the carpet fibers.

  • Have a proper sized kennel or cage for exotic pets and clean often.

  • Clear all accidents immediately. Use special pet cleaners to remove odors and stains.

  • Cover all exposed woodwork especially around windows. Pets love to jump up and look out windows. Use gates to limit your pet's access to soft wood floors like birch or cherry wood. Nail marks require the floor to be completely sanded down before refinishing. It can get very costly.

  • Don't chain your dog to the side of your house. Chains and bolts can cause both cosmetic and structural damage to your home.
  • If your dog shows behavior problems such as chewing, clawing etc, address them immediately to avoid damage to your home.

Copyright 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Get Rid of Toxic Waste Safely Before you Sell YOUR Anoka County Home!

“I left all the extra paint  under the basement stairs, just in case you want to touch up a few things.” 

It's a statement that will often make a REALTOR® cringe at the closing. But it still is an announcement is made by home sellers at closings in Minnesota from time to time. Some home buyers are appreciative, especially if the home was recently repainted and they love the neutral color scheme. But agents, such as myself, will cringe when this hasn't been discussed prior to the closing. Some buyers won't be so happy because paint and other hazardous chemicals are considered to be toxic waste.

My husband and I periodically venture into our own little toxic wasteland of cans stored under the basement steps to do a project or touch up a bump or scratch in the paint. Every once in a while we are surprised by what is accumulated there. Some cans are so old, they are rusted shut. It is amazing how quickly we stack up dozens of half containers of paint we will never use again. 

When horde of chemicals and paint under the stairs gets to this point we know it's time for a trip to the Anoka County Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHW) in Blaine!

The HHW is located at 3230 101st Ave NE in Blaine just west of the 35W and 95th Ave interchange and is open YEAR-ROUND and is FREE to Anoka County Residents
...just bring proof of your ID to prove you are a resident of the county. Summer Hours (April through October)

Wednesday 2PM-8PM
Friday 9PM-3PM
Saturday 9PM-3PM

Winter Hours (November through March)

Wednesday 2PM-8PM
Saturday 9PM-3PM
The HHW accepts more than paint too. Drop off any household product that is labeled “Corrosive”, “Flammable”,” Poison”, “Toxic” or “Warning”. This includes old drain cleaner and mothballs from the hall closet and the insecticides and weed killer in the garage. Mercury thermometers, pool chemicals and used motor oil are also accepted.

Every time we have to drop off chemicals and toxins, we have received quick, efficient service. It's a quick drive into the facility and the service professionals remove the unwanted items from your vehicle. We never seem to wait more than 5-10 minutes, though from the lines and cones around the building, I would guess that on a busy Saturday in the summer, the wait can be longer.

Plan ahead when selling your Anoka County home and do the new homebuyer of your home a favor by disposing of old paints, stains and other products before your closing. It's FREE, easy and the right thing to do.

Copyright 2013